Our Intern Interview Pet Peeves

Interviews are hard, no matter what level you find yourself in your career. And I swear, phone interviews are the worst. You have a million and two things swirling around in your brain, you’re trying not to sweat through your jacket and you’re grasping at straws to remember every single fact you can about the person and company you’re interviewing with.

When Kelsey and I hang up the phone, or regroup after an intern interview, the candidates that make a good impression always leave a smile on our faces. But sometimes, an interview can fall flat – or worse – a candidate may rub us the wrong way by committing one of these five cardinal sins.

You may have read our post on resume mistakes. Now, here are our interview pet peeves (and this doesn’t just apply to aspiring public relations practitioners).

Neglecting to ask questions

You should always have questions at the end of the interview. Sure, you can ask about the number of hours you’ll work, or how much the stipend is (although some interviewees are put off by questions that may best be left for after you get an offer), but we’re always impressed when interns ask about our work, or ask about what makes an intern successful on the job.  But for goodness sakes, at least ask something

Arriving a little too early

There’s definitely a sweet spot for arriving to an intern interview. Try shooting for 5 minutes early. Any earlier, and you’re almost guaranteed to be sitting in the lobby waiting (we’re often wrapping up another meeting or interview). If you’re too early, we recommend walking over to Ironclad to fuel up – yum.  We know you want to seem eager, but arriving too early can cause an inconvenience or an awkwardness that starts you off on the wrong foot.

Falling short on research

When candidates don’t make any reference back to Hodges, our clients or people who work here, we wonder, “Why do you want to work here?” Whether you name drop in your responses, or you fold your research into your questions are the end, we want to see that you’re interested and knowledgeable about what we do.

Not writing anything down

Why do candidates show up to an intern interview empty-handed? You never know what will come up in the interview, so always having a pen and paper are critical. This is especially valuable if there are multiple people in the room. You can make a little cheat sheet, jotting down the names of those you are interviewing with (and where they’re sitting at the table), which makes thank you notes a breeze. But taking notes conveys a real sense of interest in what you are learning about the internship.

Failing to seal the deal

Speaking of, please remember to follow-up. Maybe it’s the North Carolina in me, but sending a thank you note after your interview can go a long way. You can send an email, but I’m a sucker for a mailed note.

If you haven’t already, consider joining our crew as an intern. We’ve already told you how to rock your resume and interview, what are you waiting for?

Casey Prentice

A self-proclaimed organizational junkie and data geek who confesses to a secret desire to be a professional organizer, Casey enjoys account management, writing, editing and digital content strategy. Her agency work has helped clients like Virginia’s Community Colleges, VCUarts and Swedish Match.

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